Torrey Honors Institute Professor Awarded International Essay Prize

Mark Makin’s essay brings a new approach to the doctrine of eternal generation and wins essay prize

Mar. 15, 2016 By Daryn Daniels

Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute Professor, Mark Makin (’07), is the recipient of this year’s Metaphysics of Entanglement Essay Prize by Oxford University for his essay entitled, “God from God: The Essential Dependence Model of Eternal Generation.”


Templeton World Charity sponsored this year’s competition in which entries were judged on their development of new approaches to the Trinity informed by contemporary metaphysics.


Makin’s essay was judged against papers sent in by students and early career researchers from all over the world. Through a blind peer review process, Makin’s essay was selected as the winner from this year’s entries.


Makin, who started teaching at Biola Fall 2015, is a philosopher specializing in contemporary metaphysics and epistemology, with a deep appreciation for the history of philosophy. His research focuses on the nature of explanation in metaphysics and its applications.


His essay is the first of its kind to not only defend the doctrine of eternal generation, but to do so by proposing a model as to how it might work.


“My aim in the paper is to defend the doctrine of eternal generation by proposing a possible model that avoids standard philosophical and theological objections,” said Makin.

“Eternal generation, I argue, can be understood as a form of essential dependence. To say that the Son is begotten of the Father is just to say that the Son essentially depends on the Father. The essence of the Son involves the Father, but not vice versa.”


As a part of his winning prize, Makin will be flown out on an all-expenses-paid trip to “The Metaphysics of the Trinity: New Directions” conference taking place March 14-16, 2016, at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He will present his paper in front of conference attendees — many of whom are students and faculty of Oxford University — in addition to invited conference speakers. Other conference speakers include many of today’s prominent Christian philosophers such as Richard Swinburne, Brian Leftow and Rob Koons.


Upon receiving this honor, Makin said, “I was delighted to win the prize. As an early career scholar, it gives me an outstanding opportunity to spend three days with senior scholars in my field, and it's an honor to have my work published alongside their own. An all-expenses-paid trip to Oxford ain't too shabby, either!”

In addition to the opportunity to present his paper, Makin will also be published in the academic journal Religious Studies and will receive a 250 euro cash prize.

Upon starting at Biola, he expressed his excitement about “leading students into the riches of their intellectual and spiritual heritage in Christ Jesus.” Students have already been influenced by his teachings and leadership.

I have been blessed by him as my mentor because whenever he talks with me, I get this sense that he truly cares about my wellbeing and desires my very best,” said Joshua Johnson,  freshman and Makin’s mentee.

Makin graduated from Biola and the Torrey Honors Institute in 2007. He holds an M.A.R. in philosophy of religion from Yale University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Irvine. This will be his his ninth career presentation and his second time presenting at the University of Oxford since 2014.

For further information and a more in-depth explanation of Makin’s essay topic you can watch one of his Torrey Honors Institute lectures here.  

Written by Daryn Daniels, Public Relations intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Loumagne, Media Relations Specialist, at or via phone at (562) 777-4061.

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